Aim The aim of this study was to capture staff views on the role of the physician associates (PAs), in carrying various tasks on the tier 1 rota in Paediatrics, in a small district general hospital and evaluate any clinical incidents associated with PAs.
Methods A questionnaire survey was conducted seeking voluntary feedback from various Paediatric team members including medical staff, nursing staff, health care assistants and administrative staff. The questions had answers scored on a 5-point scale where ‘1’ indicated strong disagreement and ‘5’ strong agreement. Clinical incidents reported through the datix, electronic incident reporting database, were analysed for incidents involving the physician associates.
Results Responses were received from 21 team members including doctors (n=3), nurses (n=12), administrative staff (n=4) and a healthcare support worker (n=1). Ninety per cent of respondents felt the introduction of PAs had been beneficial to the department (mean score 4.43, standard deviation 0.68) with 100% agreement that the physician associates have professional manner, interact well with patients, work well in multidisciplinary team. 89% agree that examinational skills, procedural skills, and continuity of patient care was provided by the physician associates. 85% of the respondents felt that PAs helped improve the quality of care. The most commonly cited benefit of PAs was continuity of care (n=6), with the inability of PAs to prescribe medication the most cited disadvantage (n=10). No clinical incidents were reported about the care provided by the physician associates.
Conclusion The introduction of PAs has been well received by staff in our paediatric department providing continuity of care, improving the quality of care despite their inability to prescribe. No patient safety issues have been reported, involving physician associates in patient care.
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